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AWARE Ink

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Raising chickens offers therapy in country home



Part of AWARE’s services is to help its residents live in a home of their choice and to participate fully in life. Farm in the Falls in Great Falls is a unique AWARE residence that offers these options through country living.

During the summer, the residents plant a garden and harvest the fruit and vegetables for their table. Now, they also raise chickens.


Six baby chicks were adopted by the group home back in April. The residents have been caring for them ever since.


Each group home resident takes their turn in feeding and caring for the chickens. While visiting with the residents, they demonstrated how the chickens are fed every morning. The hens eat chicken pellets and meal worms.


The crew also checks for eggs in the morning and afternoon.


According to, now chicken expert, Paige Thomas, AWARE residential coordinator, the young chickens lay one egg per day. But as they become fully grown, they will have two eggs.


“I became an expert on chickens after I started working at AWARE,” Paige said. “I didn’t have any experience before.”


In the photo above, Heather holds Molly. They also have another chicken called Ruth. These two chickens have names because they have special brown markings to distinguish them. The rest of the Buff Orpington chickens are without a name because they look so much alike.


Heather has become particularly fond of the chickens. Tending them is her favorite chore.

Growing up on a farm, Heather said she helped raise many animals – sheep, goats, pigs, dogs. She was in 4-H. But, this is the first time she’s had chickens.


Heather described a time when she found a chicken that couldn’t fully lay an egg. She knew right away to get some help.


“It was stuck,” she said.


That day, they loaded up the chicken in the van and took it to the vet. Thankfully the chicken was ok. Heather and staff know exactly what to do if an egg gets stuck again. They’ve only had to use the special technique one other time.


Eventually, the plan is to sell the eggs to community. But for now, they’re part of meals at the home. They’ve used the eggs for brownies and scrambled eggs.

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